Better, faster and cheaper diagnosis is one of the key challenges of modern healthcare. Less invasive and more effective treatment keeps the elderly out of hospital while reducing the need for expensive personal care. The ASTONISH project will develop smart optical imaging technology that will promote the use of non-invasive and unobtrusive health monitoring.

In previous decades, people all over the world have gained a several years of life expectancy. Europeans live longer than ever before, and this phenomenon is expected to continue due to unprecedented medical achievements. But the increased number of elderly results is a growth in chronic and acute diseases. Europe’s healthcare urgently needs new technological developments if it wants to succeed in improving the quality of life.

Contributing to revolutionize healthcare, reduce its cost and promote healthy living, ASTONISH – by developing smart optical imaging technology for minimally invasive diagnosis and unobtrusive health monitoring embedded within the home and living environments – offers a set of solutions for simpler and more efficient diagnosis and low cost health monitoring that will allow patients to be comfortably treated at their homes for as long as possible. Thanks to innovative, non-invasive navigation and localisation solutions, it will allow much more efficient and safe surgical procedures. The project will also improve the personal wearable monitoring systems that allow individuals to closely monitor changes in their health condition and immediately provide feedback.

Optical imaging is a very promising emerging technology with great potential to improve disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment and is also significantly lower in cost. It uses the properties of visible, Near Infrared (NIR) or Short Wave Infrared light to allow doctors to see deeper into tissues without the damaging effects of X-rays. It also has new capabilities, allowing for visualizing of soft tissues, measuring different properties of organs at the same time, and even provides immediate diagnosis capabilities.

Smart algorithms, multimodal fusion techniques and biomedical signal processing will process the acquired data, and advanced user interfaces will simplify the complex clinical tasks. These technology components will be integrated with other conventional imaging technologies to build application-specific solutions for physiological monitoring, tumour detection, minimally invasive surgery, brain function monitoring and rehabilitation.

The technology developed by ASTONISH will allow physicians to record, over a several-days period, highly relevant parameters for the early detection of cardiovascular or metabolic risk. It invests in developing portable devices that will allow for early detection of brain abnormalities, which are now only possible to measure in a hospital environment. Additionally, the project will develop the next generation of medical systems for automated detection of skin cancer using optical biopsy.

The ASTONISH partners cover the full value chain, from semiconductor manufacturing to clinical centres testing the final application. The set of proposed innovations will improve the global competitiveness of the European healthcare industry and deliver ready-to-market technologies making the long life of European citizens easier.

ECS Strategic Research Agenda focus areas:

Systems and Components: Architecture, Design and Integration

Health and Well-Being

ECSEL Call 2016

Start date: 06/2016

Duration: 36 months

Project coordinator:

Robert Hofsink

Philips Medical Systems B.V.

The Netherlands

Number of partners: 25

Number of countries: 6

Total investment: M€ 5.9 

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